Thursday, 6 March 2008


VATICAN CITY, 5 MAR 2008 (VIS) - In the light of the open letter "A Common Word" signed by 138 Muslim scholars, and of Benedict XVI's response through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., a delegation of five signatories of that letter met with five representatives of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue in the Vatican on 4 and 5 March.
A communique made public today and signed by the heads of the two delegations, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and by Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad, states that, "in order to further develop Catholic-Muslim dialogue, the participants agreed to establish the 'Catholic-Muslim Forum' and to organise the first seminar of the forum in Rome from 4 to 6 November 2008".
That meeting will be attended by 24 religious leaders and scholars from each side. The theme will be "Love of God, Love of Neighbour" and the sub-themes "Theological and Spiritual Foundations" and "Human Dignity and Mutual Respect". The seminar will conclude with a public session on 6 November and the participants will be received by Pope Benedict XVI.
The participants in this month's meeting were, on the Catholic side, Cardinal Tauran, Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata and Msgr. Khaled Akasheh, respectively president, secretary and head officer for Islam of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue; Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot M.C.C.J., president of the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies; and Fr. Christian W. Troll S.J., visiting professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
On the Muslim side, the meeting was attended by Sheikh Murad, president of the Muslim Academic Trust, UK; Professor Aref Ali Nayed director of the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, Amman, Jordan; Dr. Ibrahim Kalin of the SETA Foundation, Ankara, Turkey; Imam Yahya Pallavicini, vice-president of CO.RE.IS. (Comunità Religiosa Islamica), Italy ; and Sohail Nakhooda, editor-in-chief of "Islamica" Magazine, Amman , Jordan .